'El Chamo' laces RBI 1B after pitch hits chest

Teammates, manager relieved after rookie shakes off scary moment

August 26th, 2017

WASHINGTON -- His teammates were excited to see smiling, talking and giving high-fives sitting at his locker in the clubhouse after the Nationals' 9-4 victory over the Mets on Saturday. Moments earlier, he had worried them all, as a scary scene unfolded during the victory's eighth inning.
Sanchez had squared around to bunt when a 96-mph sinker from Mets right-hander ran inside and hit him square in the chest. Sanchez remained down on the ground for a few moments as team trainers and manager Dusty Baker came out of the dugout to check on him.
Eventually, the rookie second baseman got to his feet and began walking toward first base alongside Baker and head athletic trainer Paul Lessard. The only issue was, the pitch had been called a strike because Sanchez bunted at it. The at-bat was going to continue, and Sanchez told Baker he still wanted to continue.

And Sanchez -- known as "El Chamo" for Players Weekend -- stayed in the box to rope a run-scoring single into left field, his third RBI of the day, setting a career high, and earning him a standing ovation from the 36,761 fans at Nationals Park.
"It is very scary," left-hander said. "To get up and get that knock, just that's a whole 'nother level for that guy. He just -- that's superfreak. That's something out of this world."

Sanchez initially remained in the game for a few pitches as a baserunner on first base, but he was eventually replaced by pinch-runner .
That the play ended so well was a relief for the Nationals, who are already nursing a number of injured players. Baker immediately thought back to a time he was playing in Puerto Rico when the same situation happened to him: He squared around to bunt and got hit in the chest. Shortstop thought back to a friend of his, just 16 years old and as close as family, who was hit in the head playing baseball in the Dominican Republic and died.
"Any time a situation like that comes up, it's very scary," Difo said through an interpreter. "We're fortunate, and hopefully he's good."

Sanchez will undergo further tests to make sure he did not receive any damage to his chest or ribcage as a result of the play. However, he was at least able to stay in the game and deliver the RBI single that ignited a three-run rally for Washington that helped them put the game out of reach.
"That picked our team up and it brought the house down, too," Baker said. "Everybody here loves Sanchy and we're all pulling for him big time."